Commissioners approve grants that will provide increased law enforcement officer pay and increased drug court testing

Published 9:01 am Saturday, December 9, 2023

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The Troup County Board of Commissioners has approved the acceptance of a pair of grants for Accountability Courts but not without a bit of trepidation.

On Tuesday the commissioners signed off on accepting a law enforcement supplement grant for DUI/Drug Court as well as an enhancement grant for Adult Drug Court.

Troup County DUI/Drug Court was awarded $6,570 from the Council of Accountability Court Judges (CACJ) in partnership with the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC).

The grant is available to support the DUI/Drug Court program operations in the last two quarters of the fiscal year. 

Accountability Courts Manager Jasmine Johnson asked the commissioners to accept the total grant of $7,466 which includes a required local match of $896. The courts plan to use the funds to increase the home check officers’ hourly rate.

Johnson said the funds were requested to help with the retention of home-check officers.

“We’ve had turnover in home check officers, especially in DUI court. I wanted to apply for it so that I can show the grant committee that this is what we need to keep them here,” Johnson said.

Commission Chair Patrick Crews noted that the funds would allow for an increase in pay for the officers who conduct the checks but he questioned the ability to continue the pay after the grant funds run out.

“This is a pretty substantial increase in the hourly pay for those officers that we’ll be doing that. And for that, I’m very thankful. I think all of us are,” Crews said. “I think my concern is what happens if we don’t get this grant in the future. We wouldn’t necessarily be able to fund that extra pay.”

Johnson noted that they intend to apply for the grant again and if it’s not awarded again they can seek other grant opportunities.

Commissioner Jimmy McCamey suggested offering the funds as a temporary supplement rather than a permanent pay increase. Similarly, Commissioner Morris Jones suggested providing the funds as a per diem and keep the officer’s hourly rate the same.

Johnson indicated that they could work it out so that the county would only be obligated to provide the extra pay for the duration of the grants.

The commissioners approved a similar grant to Felony Drug Court from CACJ that will provide $20,790 for additional drug testing funds.

These funds will be used for additional testing of samples to ensure that participants are being

monitored for illicit substances that are unable to be screened for by the county’s in-house lab. 

Accountability Courts Coordinator Hilliard Daniel said the tests cost about $70. Felony Drug Court currently has about 55 participants, so everyone will not be screened with the more comprehensive tests.

“We would use the money for some additional targeted drug testing of our drug court clients to just increase accountability and make sure that we are keeping an eye on anything that can be abused by our participants,” Daniel said.

The grant requires a local match of $2,875.

The commissioners unanimously approved the acceptance of both grants.